Maryland's legislature has ensured that both beekeepers and consumers are protected from adulterated or falsely labeled honey! On February 24 and 25, 2012, the Maryland House and Senate unanimously passed HB159/SB193, "Maryland Standard of Identity for Honey."
Initially brought by beekeeper Byron Rice to Del. Kathy Afzali in 2011, a joint effort with the Maryland State Beekeepers helped legislators better understand both the threat to pure food and the terrible economic impact on beekeepers of adulterated honey. MSBA both commented on the legistlation, and organized (see right) a February 2, 2012 "Bee Day" in Annapolis that discussed honey, pollination, beekeepers, and Maryland greenspaces with legislators and staffers.
The United States has seen honey from China labeled as domestic, honey laced with potentially deadly antibiotics, and jars with "Honey" on the label and nothing but unidentifiable colored syrup inside. Until now, the only agency protecting us has been the U.S. Customs Service, which can only go after falsely labeled imports and unpaid duties! Consumers had literally nowhere to turn if they were sold an unhealthy or even dangerous product that someone called "honey."
The MSBA participated in this effort in order to ensure that we got a law that accurately reflects pure honey production and packaging, and to help our legislators understand how honey sales help support the very important role of Maryland's honeybee pollination of crops.
You can hear more about the importance of this bill to Maryland Beekeepers, and it's role in a national effort to protect our honey supply at: